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Chelsea

Forecaster: Liverpool on top-four bubble

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Eden Hazard's goal enough as Chelsea edge West Ham 1-0 at Upton Park

The ESPN FC panel discuss why Chelsea have been able to maintain their lead atop the Premier League as they held on for a 1-nil victory over West Ham.

LONDON -- Eden Hazard's first-half goal was enough thanks to some superb Thibaut Courtois saves as Chelsea defeated West Ham 1-0. Here are three quick observations from Wednesday night's game at Upton Park.

1. Hazard provides the crucial goal

It was a night when Eden Hazard scored a rare headed goal and Chelsea once again showed their own mental fortitude to beat West Ham United 1-0. Despite how rocky this match was, the Premier League leaders just keep on rolling forward.

Jose Mourinho...

 By Mark Worrall

Courtois helps keep West Ham at bay; Hazard nods home Chelsea winner

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho says his players adapted well following their League Cup triumph to defeat West Ham United 1-0 in the Premier League on Wednesday.
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE: Eden Hazard (22') West Ham 0-1 Chelsea
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE: Ramires Santos do Nascimento (56') West Ham 0-1 Chelsea

Chelsea maintained their five-point advantage at the summit of the Premier League with a backs-to-the-wall, battling 1-0 victory over West Ham United. An Eden Hazard goal midway through the first half and world-class keeping from Thibaut Courtois were the decisive factors as the Blues displayed admirable defensive resilience to keep the Hammers at bay.

Jose Mourinho tweaked his Wembley starting XI, electing to play Courtois in goal instead of Petr Cech and affording Oscar a start in place of Willian....

Prem Forecaster: LFC on top-4 bubble

Liverpool, which is unbeaten in 12 straight Premier League games, continues to steadily climb the league table.
Liverpool, which is unbeaten in 12 straight Premier League games, continues to steadily climb the league table.

In three rounds of Premier League games since Insider's previous Prem Forecaster, little has ultimately changed in the title or relegation races, though Chelsea did stumble momentarily. The Champions League race is where the true drama took place, as one team's struggles were a boon for two others.

As a reminder, the Forecaster is an end-of-season table projection fueled by ESPN's Soccer Power Index (SPI), a regression-based algorithm designed to predict soccer matches. SPI simulates the remainder of the season 10,000 times, using the odds of each projected match, with the end result presented in the table below.

In this edition we examine table risers and fallers over the past few weeks; break down the title, Champions League and relegation battles; and preview an upcoming match with major Champions League qualification implications. To begin, here's our updated top-to-bottom table forecast:

Latest table projection

...

Chelsea closer to Premier League title, but are Everton in a relegation scrap?

Manchester United grab another three points, while Aston Villa break their losing streak with a vital extra-time winner.
A full slate of midweek fixtures saw Tim Sherwood lead Villa to victory, an apologetic Ben Foster and a water bottle showdown between Gus Poyet and Steve Bruce.
The ESPN FC panel discuss why Chelsea have been able to maintain their lead atop the Premier League as they held on for a 1-nil victory over West Ham.

It's time to run the rule over the Heroes and Villains of matchday 28 in the Premier League, as there were plenty of exciting midweek fixtures.

HEROES

Twice, Jonas Gutierrez has been diagnosed with testicular cancer. Twice, he has beaten it. To fight that battle with courage and dignity, whether that battle is won or lost, is an achievement that outstrips any of the trivialities this column covers from week to week. To fight it twice, to beat it twice and to return to one of the world's most demanding...

 By PA Sport

Chelsea's Thibaut Courtois: West Ham win defines Premier League title hopes

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho says his players adapted well following their League Cup triumph to defeat West Ham United 1-0 in the Premier League on Wednesday.
The ESPN FC panel discuss why Chelsea have been able to maintain their lead atop the Premier League as they held on for a 1-nil victory over West Ham.

Thibaut Courtois believes Chelsea's win at West Ham was the sort which showed they can be Premier League champions.

Chelsea followed up Sunday's Capital One Cup final victory over Tottenham with a 1-0 win at Upton Park to consolidate their five-point lead over second-placed Manchester City.

Following Eden Hazard's first-half headed goal, goalkeeper Courtois was integral to the success making a number of key saves, and reckons the win was crucial in the title race.

"Those games define if you can...